Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

which were described as costs of population decline are now viewed as costs of population growth. William Vogt, expressing the contemporary view, has written, "the more people we have, the more government we must have" (12). A similar theme is presented by the geochemist Harrison Brown, who noted that "in the future we can expect that the greater the population density of an industrial society becomes, the more elaborate will be its organizational structure and the more regimented will be its people" (13).
Whereas in the 1930's some economists reasoned that a population decline would bring about state intervention in order to cope with a declining economy, many contemporary economists argue that population growth, by impeding an adequate rate of savings and investment in the developing countries, is likely to lead to economic stagnation which can best be overcome through government intervention to restrict consumption, augment savings, and increase the rate of investment.
Though there has been a growing concern with some of the economic, political, and social effects of population growth in the developed world of western Europe and the United States, primary focus of the current neo-Malthusian wave has been on the consequences of population growth for the developing areas. Almost all the political problems of the developing areas-political instability, violence, aggressive behavior, communism, revolution, intense nationalism—have been linked to rapid population growth.
On the relationship between population growth and the development of nationalism, the historian Henry Steele Commager has written that as the rise of European nationalism after the French Revolution coincided with the first great population increases in modern history, so "now it is Asia, Africa, and South America that are experiencing the population explosion, and it is in these continents that we are witnessing the upsurge of chauvinistic and imperialistic nationalism" (14, 15).
On the relationship between population growth and the spread of communism, one writer has focused on the development of communist movements in the south Indian state of Kerala.
How did a calm and peaceful little part of Asia come to be such a hotbed of communism? There are a number of complicated answers to this question, based on history, politics, and economics. But two underlying reasons stand out. The first is a physical fact: Kerala is so overcrowded that its people simply do not have enough food to keep their living above the concentration camp level. ... (16)
Many writers have stressed the relationship between poverty, population growth, and political instability. This viewpoint can be found in the writings of Philip Hauser, Irene Taeuber, Kingsley Davis, and many other American demographers. The late Harold Dorn, in a report to the American Assembly on world population growth, stated the viewpoint succinctly: "as population continues to innre.fise morfi ranidlv than abilitv to satisfy needs and desires.